The Lesser Man

I’ve been watching this season of the Biggest Loser. I usually start watching a season – sometimes I finish – sometimes I feel like I don’t connect with any of the contestants, or the way they run the show bugs me and I quit watching. So far I’m still watching this season. It seems as though after all the controversy of last season they’re working a bit more on the reasons you are overweight and how to get to a healthy weight. We shall see.

The one person who I really liked was Mike Murburg. He joined The Biggest Loser at 399 lbs and was still grieving the death of his 20 year old son who had been killed during Special Forces training. He seemed to be one of those exceptional men who are tough as nails on the outside and squishy teddy bears on the inside (I have a few of these types of men in my family). He talked a lot about needing to lose his “grief weight” so that he could move on and then lose his other weight. I also liked him because he reminded me of the character Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation who deadpans everything, seems to care about nothing, and has a soft heart of gold underneath it all (and I loved that show because Rob Lowe was on it..)

I’m a few weeks behind on TBL, but yesterday I was watching the episode where Mike was at Last Chance Canyon and was talking to his trainer Bob. He read him this poem that he wrote:


I fight against the lesser man within.
For he is a coward, a drunkard and a fraud.
He is lazy; he is good companion to no one.
Yet he is and lives and breathes.
He is not my flesh and blood,
but he is in me.
He says less and less these days
for I am no longer interested in what he has to say,
or how he is feeling.
He always repeats his cacaphonic chorus.
He always feels the same – lousy
No, I have finally heard the infant song of my better self.

If you ignore the lesser man he will come back and he will burn that house down.
I am here to nurture it and love it as a child’s,
To grow it strong, sensible and reliable
and teach it love and humility,
to give it kindness
and to listen to its needs and cries.
In a way, it is both a birth
and a rebirth.
A good soul can never be reborn too many times.
Yet a house can only have so many rooms.
and the birth of a new child into an old home
leaves no spare room for the imposter to occupy.
And though he may never completely leave on his own accord,
I can at least guarantee that his stay while here
shall never be a comfortable one.

It spoke to me on so many levels. But the line saying If you ignore the lesser man he will come back and he will burn that house down – that is where I am now. I ignored my lesser man and he came back and burned my house down! I lost a bunch of weight and had myself in a really happy place with good friends and happy kids and a thin body and I ignored the lesser man. I was so sure that I would never gain weight again that I got cocky- then I got fat (and unhappy).  Even more dangerously, I let people on the outside tell that lesser man that he was right (myself included) and that let him grow stronger when I should have been bringing him down.

This poem reminded me that even when I get “to where I want to be” both physically and spiritually, I can never ignore that lesser (wo)man. Being a work in progress means that I’m always a work in progress and I can’t ever forget that.

I am so thankful that Mike wrote this poem and then shared it with the world. It is filled with inspiration and I know I will be returning to read it many times on my journey.


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